A few retail employees at Apple Store locations have complained directly to Apple CEO Tim Cook, saying the company's policy of checking its employees' bags for security reasons was "embarrassing and demeaning." The new record comes from a court filing and is part of a 2013 lawsuit claiming the Cupertino company should compensate its employees for the time the bag checks take (via Reuters).

apple_store_genius_bar_official
One of the workers in the lawsuit sent an email to Cook back in 2012, claiming that Apple retail store managers "are required to treat 'valued' employees as criminals." In the filing it was said that Cook then forwarded the complaint to both top retail and human resources executives asking, "Is this true?" No responses to Cook's inquiry were documented within the filing made public this week.

In the original lawsuit, which is seeking class action status after being dismissed last year, Amanda Friekin and Dean Pelle claimed that these bag checks were mandatory every time a sales rep left the store and were meant to discourage theft. In one of the original emails sent to Cook in 2012, the employee simply claims Apple's strict policy breeds an environment of distrust amongst its otherwise loyal workers.

In the 2012 email to Cook, with a subject line "Fearless Feedback from Apple Retail Specialist," the employee said Apple's policy implies the company does not trust its workers.

"These procedures are often performed in front of gawking customers," the employee wrote, adding that workers deserve to be treated with the same respect that Apple shows customers.

As Reuters points out, in a Supreme Court ruling last December, Amazon won out over a group of its employees who sued the company for monetary compensation in the time they spent going through security checks at the end of their shifts. The Supreme Court's ruling erred on Amazon's side because it found these security checks were not a "principal activity" of the employees' job description.

A hearing in the lawsuit is set for a July 2 date in court.

Top Rated Comments

keysofanxiety Avatar
94 months ago
Low wage high school kids working a near skill-less job, whining.
Meh. Lots of small valuable items, its a logical and reasonable policy common in retail junk jobs.
The main issue is that these checks take time and it isn't counted, so the employees suffer - there were other employees who said the time this took came out of their lunch break which to me is unacceptable.

I appreciate this is the norm for high-value item stores, though they shouldn't be doing checks in front of customers and Apple should be treating their employees with a little more respect. The Apple Stores do work hard, 7 days a week, and they're normally open 12-13 hours a day. Furthermore they do all the repairs in the evening so when they close up the doors it's not like they're twiddling their thumbs. I've had a call at 11:30PM to say that my MacBook was repaired (on the same day it was dropped off, may I add).

I think you should treat people in the customer service industry with a little more respect; what people don't often appreciate is all the BS/angry consumers that they have to put up with as well, which just piles onto these existing issues. It's not appropriate to brush these issues under the carpet and just put it down to 'whining high school kids'; at the very least it deserves a thorough investigation.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
AppleFan4Life83 Avatar
94 months ago
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
phillipduran Avatar
94 months ago
You should be compensated for anytime you spend doing something the company requested. You are responsible for getting yourself to work. Once you are there, if you need to count drawers, open up, setup, unpack, stow stuff away or anything else, it should be done on the clock and you should be paid you hourly wage for doing that. I hear all the time that people are expected to show up 10 minutes before their shift to count a drawer's cash and then when their shift starts on the hour is when they start getting paid. This employee to employer charity needs to be stopped.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
johnnyturbouk Avatar
94 months ago
I think my position on the matter is likely to be controversial, however, i feel apple are perfectly justified to check employee bags. As others have mentioned, many companies do this, especially when such high value items are clustered in high density, juxtaposed with the huge number of employees a single store may employ. I do agree however, this should not hugely demean or inconvenience the employees.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
pad1986 Avatar
94 months ago
hmmm...
Although this is in the retail department - there is often a lot of leaks that come directly from apple employees...
There is also a lot of expensive items and you can't trust people at face value...

Granted back then they didn't have 24k gold watches in the building, but they certainly should do bag checks now...

And let's face it... if you have nothing to hide, what's the problem... Apple should be clear that bag checks is part of the job - that way if you don't want it, then don't work there...

By the sounds of it the people are suing for the time it took, not the fact it was happening... i would turn round and say "ok my great knowledgable people..." (who are not always that knowledgable -- I've seen people turn to other customers for answers instead...ive even had people come ask me instead...lol) "...we will pay you back for the time it took to search your bags - the whole 2mins each time - but all those extra bonuses, discounts, presents, gift cards we give you will stop... this will teach you for being so god darn ungrateful people...go work for Mcdonalds and then tell me if you feel more valued there than here."
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
2457282 Avatar
94 months ago
It has been a long time since I worked in retail, but I can assure you that even way back then (and not at an apple store) this was usual and customary practice. I thought the only questionable practice was that the employee had to clock out before the check and at time had to wait for a long time before they could leave. If they were to rule against Apple here I could see two implications -- first it would reach beyond apple to all retail companies that have similar practices and second I could see that they would not allow employees to bring in any bag or purse to work. Not sure that is the desired effect, but could easily be the outcome.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

airpods pro black background

AirPods Pro 2: Five New Features and Improvements to Expect

Sunday August 14, 2022 3:28 pm PDT by
Apple's second-generation AirPods Pro are finally nearing launch, with a release expected later this year. If you are considering upgrading to the new AirPods Pro once they are released, keep reading for a list of five new features to expect. In addition to all-new features, the second-generation AirPods Pro will likely adopt some features added to the standard AirPods last year. H2 Chip ...
10th Generation iPad Render

10th-Generation iPad With Major Design Changes Reportedly in Production Ahead of September Launch

Monday August 15, 2022 8:02 pm PDT by
Apple's rumored 10th-generation iPad is currently in production and will feature "major" design changes, according to a report from Taiwanese website DigiTimes. A mockup of the potential 10th-generation iPad design by Renders By Shailesh The report did not provide any specific details about the 10th-generation iPad's new design, but rumors suggest the device will feature a larger 10.5-inch...
ios 16 lock screen feature2

Apple Seeds Sixth Betas of iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 to Developers [Update: Public Beta Available]

Monday August 15, 2022 10:04 am PDT by
Apple today seeded the sixth betas of upcoming iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 updates to developers for testing purposes, with the updates coming a week after Apple released the fifth developer betas. Registered developers can download the iOS and iPadOS 16 profiles from the Apple Developer Center, and once installed, the betas will be available over the air. iOS 16 introduces a revamped Lock...
iPhone 14 Dummies 1 Feature

Everything Rumored for Apple's September Event: iPhone 14, Apple Watch Pro and More

Friday August 12, 2022 2:34 pm PDT by
There's just about a month to go until Apple holds its annual September event focusing on new iPhone and Apple Watch models. We thought we'd take a quick look at everything that's rumored for Apple's September event to give MacRumors readers a rundown on what to expect when the first fall event rolls around. iPhone 14 The iPhone 14 can probably be described more as an "iPhone 13S" because...
apple watch se

Apple Watch SE vs. Apple Watch Series 8: New Features to Expect If You've Waited to Upgrade

Monday August 15, 2022 2:44 am PDT by
The Apple Watch SE was announced in September 2020 and has been a popular Apple Watch model for customers looking for their first smartwatch or an affordable Apple Watch. Apple Watch SE customers may be wondering, however, what's in store for them with the upcoming Apple Watch Series 8 and what new features they can expect. Continue reading to find out. Apple Watch SE vs. Apple Watch Series ...
Apple Watch Series 3 v 8 1

Apple Watch Series 3 vs. Apple Watch Series 8: 20 Major New Features and Changes for Customers Upgrading

Tuesday August 16, 2022 6:52 am PDT by
It's crazy to think about, but next month will mark five years since Apple announced the Apple Watch Series 3. Despite being a severely antiquated smartwatch, the Series 3 has remained at the bottom of Apple's lineup for $199. Suppose you're still holding on to your Apple Watch Series 3. In that case, this article will list all the major new features and changes you'll get if you decide to...
iPhone 14 Pro Lineup Feature Purple

Apple Planning to Hold iPhone 14 Event on September 7

Wednesday August 17, 2022 9:51 am PDT by
Apple is aiming to hold its first fall event on Wednesday, September 7, reports Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. The event will focus on the iPhone 14 models and the Apple Watch Series 8. The standard iPhone 14 models are expected to get few changes, but the iPhone 14 Pro models will include updated camera technology, the removal of the notch in favor of a pill-shaped and hole-punch cutout, an A16...